An informant in a federal murder-for-hire case who planted a pipe bomb under the intended victim’s car pleaded guilty to two federal weapons charges Thursday in Coeur d’Alene.
Larry A. Fairfax, 49, faces a maximum 10 years in prison but federal sentencing guidelines show he could receive as little as 18 months. He’s to be sentenced Dec. 16.
Fairfax, of Sagle, Idaho, has been in custody since June 15, the day employees at a Coeur d’Alene auto shop found a pipe bomb beneath a car belonging to Cyndi Steele, wife of former Aryan Nations lawyer Edgar Steele. Cyndi Steele had taken the car in for an oil change before her husband’s first court appearance on charges that he hired Fairfax to kill her and her mother.
Cyndi Steele criticized Fairfax’s plea deal before U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Thursday, saying he should be charged with attempted murder.
Read Cyndi Steele’s full statement to the court, emailed to The Spokesman-Review by her attorney Wesley Hoyt, by clicking the link below.
Winmill has yet to rule on a request from Edgar Steele’s lawyer, Roger Peven, to delay the November trial and declare the case complex. The U.S. Attorney’s Office rejected to the request, saying they could present the case in two to three days.
Statement of Cyndi Steele to Judge Lynn B. Winmill, Federal District Court Judge
Re: Change of Plea by Larry Fairfax, the Idaho Pipe Bomber in a court hearing of October 7, 2010
“I am here today to object to the “soft” plea bargain for Larry Fairfax. I want the Court to know that I was denied my Crime Victim’s Rights — (18 USC §3771) because I was not consulted by the prosecutor BEFORE the plea agreement was reached. I was first notified that a plea bargain was being considered by a letter from the prosecutor dated August 24, 2010, and I immediately called to voice my objection, but the prosecutor was out of town. Later I learned that the plea deal had already been signed August 18th, that is: six (6) days before I was contacted and the deal was already final; so the message delivered to me by the prosecutor was that my input did not matter, which is contrary to my crime victim right to be consulted. (18 USC §3771(a)(5)) Under the law of Crime Victim Rights, the prosecutor is to make her BEST EFFORTS to consult with me, as the victim (18 USC §3771(c)(1)) BEFORE making a plea agreement; but, your honor, in my case she didn’t make her BEST EFFORTS, she made NO EFFORT!
As a crime victim I have the right to be treated with FAIRNESS by the prosecutor (18 USC §3771(a)(8)); I have the right to receive notice of any plea deal BEFORE it becomes final (18 USC §3771 (a)(2) & (5)); and the right to be consulted as to my views about the plea agreement BEFORE, and not after, it is signed.
The law says that “…the court shall ensure that the crime victim is afforded….” these rights (18 USC §3771(b)(1)) So, since it is your job to “ensure” that my rights are afforded, I am here to plead with you to enforce my rights.
Please let me briefly explain what I wanted to have happen and why I am so adamant that my rights should not be glossed over: Larry Fairfax came forward in early June when his attorney, retired Idaho State Judge James Michaud, called the FBI and promised that Fairfax would cooperate with the authorities by making a full disclosures of all related criminal activity. But, instead, Mr. Fairfax was deceptive and withheld critical information from the FBI.
Now, Mr. Fairfax is here asking this court to approve what I call a “soft” plea agreement after he kept the bomb a secret, never telling the FBI that a pipe bomb was a continual threat to me and a threat to every community I passed through on my way to my mother’s house near Portland Oregon and then back again. As you know, for almost three (3) weeks, I had a lethal pipe bomb attached under my car as I traveled 450 miles out and 450 miles back and did errands, and Mr. Fairfax knew it and deliberately did not tell anybody.
Then, after Mr. Fairfax promised to tell the truth on June 8th, we all had to learn the hard way on June 15th that he lied to the FBI by not informing them that he had manufactured two pipe bombs, and he didn’t tell them on June 8th that one of those bombs was attached to the undercarriage of my car, and had been attached to my car since before I left for Oregon on May 28th.
Just looking at the time line and seeing the days that passed as Larry Fairfax kept his secret, made me realize that the FBI was being led to believe that they could trust Mr. Fairfax, because he had come “clean” when he hadn’t. Mr. Fairfax not only did not inform the FBI on June 8th or 9th or 10th etc. that he had made the bomb and put it on my car, he did not come “clean” about that bomb until after I found it on my car on June 15th at the oil change garage, which oil change garage is just down the street from this court building.
In fact, if I had not stopped to get my oil changed, the bomb would not have been found and my car would have been parked right next to this courthouse that day with that bomb still attached. According to prior court testimony at the Fairfax detention hearing, this bomb was the largest pipe bomb Agent Todd Smith of the BATF&E had ever seen and it was wired to my muffler with a fuse that made it a lethal weapon.
If that bomb had gone off at the oil change garage, it was mounted near enough for my gas tank to explode, and it would have been a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and the shock wave from the explosion could have been felt in this courtroom. I think about the lives that could have been lost and the people maimed in the surrounding businesses, residences and on the streets, in traffic, all because Mr. Fairfax would not come “clean”.
Now, there is something that I just do not understand about the information in the plea agreement; According to Mr. Fairfax, he and his accomplice went to Oregon on May 31st to “check” on the bomb, and to see why it did not go off. Amazingly, together they decided to “assume” that the bomb had fallen off my car as of May 31s. I would ask: If the bomb had really fallen off my car, then how did it get back on my car by June 15th? Did one of Mr. Fairfax’s accomplices put it there?
Once a person, like Mr. Fairfax, proves that he is an unreliable source of information, because of his lies, how can anyone know when he is telling the truth or what to believe? For instance, what Mr. Fairfax is now saying, is that he went to Oregon to “check” on and remove the bomb, because that is what will get him the best treatment now. But, what if in reality, he and Mr. Maher actually intended that the bomb should be on my car to blow me up?
Thus, his statements now cause us to believe the real purpose for the mission to Oregon was to verify that the bomb was missing, when it could just as easily have been to verify the bomb was still in place, where it ultimately was found on June 15th. This is because neither he nor Mr. Maher had yet departed from their criminal enterprise on 5-31.
The problem is that nobody knows when they departed from their criminal enterprise because they kept the fact of the bomb a secret until June 15th. Thus, everything they did prior to June 15th when they admitted manufacturing and attaching the bomb must have been a part of the criminal enterprise. So that, nothing he said on June 8th, 9th or 10th, as long as he was keeping secret of the bomb, can be considered reliable.
The plea agreement says that Mr. Fairfax is honest and his testimony can be trusted. Judge Michaud testified at the detention hearing that Mr. Fairfax was an honest person, but that was because Judge Michaud wanted to get Mr. Fairfax out of jail on bond, (Do attorneys really testify for their clients?) Strangely, Judge Michaud actually did testify that Fairfax was an honorable person, and that he was an upstanding and reliable member of the community.
But, that simply is not true, as proven by the fact that Mr. Fairfax hid from the FBI the secret of the Bomb for seven (7) days, or one full week from 06-08 to 06-15 after he had promised to “come clean.” How can Mr. Fairfax be trusted when he has proven to all of us that he is a liar, that he will not keep his promises, no matter if the life and safety of an entire community is at stake? The truth is, Mr. Fairfax is a thief who stole $45,000 in silver bullion from my life savings, and to cover it up he attempted to murder me with a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
By his own admission, Mr. Fairfax was involved in yet another criminal enterprise on May 31st, when he traveled from North Idaho to the Portland OR area with one or more of his accomplices. They traveled all the way to my mother’s house to “check” and see if the bomb was still attached to my vehicle because he was curious why that bomb had not blown me and every living soul near me to bits. That was on May 31st Mr. Fairfax can’t explain why, when he was the one who made the pipe bomb, and he was the only one who knew exactly what it looked like, and he was the only one who knew where it was located on my car, and he was the one who attached it under my car, and although he traveled hundreds of miles to “check” on the bomb, can anyone explain to me why, Jim Maher, a neighbor of mine, did the looking.
The prosecutor knows that Jim Maher is one of the accomplices of Fairfax. She knows that Jim Maher accompanied Mr. Fairfax on this excursion from Idaho to Oregon on May 31st; the Prosecutor knows that it was Jim Maher who did the looking and supposedly reported to Fairfax that there was no bomb under my car.
The prosecutor knows that Jim Maher helped make the decision to “assume” the pipe bomb had fallen off my car. That means Mr. Fairfax and Mr. Maher had a meeting and decided that they would “assume” the bomb must have fallen off my car somewhere along my route from Idaho, through Washington State into Oregon. That is, they “ASSUMED” that the bomb must be laying beside the road, or in the road somewhere in a community that has school children who could have picked it up and carried it to a classroom, or where a soccer mom could run over it with her minivan. If it would have exploded, then the scene would have looked like images of blown out Iraqi buildings after a suicide bombing attack.
Can you imagine the horror and fear and mental aguish I have already gone through since discovering the bomb was attached under my car on June 15th? And you know what Judge, neither Mr. Fairfax nor any of his accomplices bothered to report to the authorities that they had “ASSUMED” that their pipe bomb was on the loose between May 31st and June 8th 2010. In fact, according to the FBI they maintained their silence and did nothing, and the prosecutor says she knew about this and she has done nothing!!!!
In fact, after assuming that the bomb had fallen off of my car on May 31st, the Fairfax Gang traveled back to Idaho, waiting eight (8) more days before talking to the authorities; Now Judge, I have been asked by the prosecutor to believe that Mr. Fairfax did not mention the bomb to the FBI on June 8th; which absolves the FBI of any responsibility to warn me, because they supposedly did not know. But, what about Mr. Fairfax and his accomplices, what did they know? And why didn’t Mr. Jim Maher, or the other accomplices come forward after May 31st and at least say something about the bomb being loose? The prosecutor claims Jim Maher was interviewed, so what did he say?
Let me tell you what I was doing during that eight (8) day period from May 31st to June 8th of 2010, I was busy helping my mother, who was ill, with her dance school business for little girls, age 3-1/2 years and up. My car was parked where the children entered and exited from the dance class. Let’s look at the entire period I was in jeopardy from May 28th to June 15th (the day I discovered the bomb). This was a period when 18 days elapsed, Larry Fairfax and his Gang allowed me to transport a lethal bomb all the way from my home in Sagle, Idaho to visit my ailing mother near Portland, a distance of about 450 miles, with many errands in and around town (including filling my gas tank, can you even imagine the devastation of that explosion at a gas station?), and then I was permitted to travel back again without ever knowing or being told that there was a pipe bomb attached under my car.
At any place along this thousand mile journey, an explosion could have occurred…., but didn’t except by the grace of God. And, I want to PROCLAIM MY GRATITUDE RIGHT HERE AND NOW to my Heavenly Father for protecting me and all those around me who could have been injured or killed by this horrible, horrible explosive device. What is more outrageous about his attempted murder is that Mr. Fairfax put thousands of other lives in danger: My mom, my children and other family members including my 2 year old granddaughter, my friends, parents and the students of my mom’s dance studio who are as young as 3 ½ , thousands of innocent bystanders. In fact your honor, if that bomb had exploded at a time when I happened to be driving past your car, it could have done harm to the occupants of your vehicle as well.
It is my firm belief that the only reason I am alive today is by the grace of God, not because Larry Fairfax was being a “good guy” as portrayed by the FBI and prosecutor. A “good guy” would not have lied to the FBI; A “good guy” would not steal from people, or at least if he did, he would make arrangements to pay it back; and A “good guy” would NEVER attach a bomb under anyone’s car in an attempt to murder them or at least if he did, and he said he departed from the criminal enterprise on May 31st and was going to come clean…, at that point, if he truly was a “good guy” who had departed from his criminal enterprise…. Then, that “good guy” would certainly have told the authorities by June 8th to look under my car or start looking along the route where I had been driving, to find this missing Weapon of Mass Destruction before it hurt somebody. But, Mr. Fairfax didn’t do that; instead he kept the secret of the conspiracy until after the bomb was discovered by me. What happened was that Mr. Fairfax did not reveal that he manufactured the bomb and attached it under my car until after the oil change mechanic and I discovered it on June 15th.
In my humble opinion, Larry Fairfax is THE MOST VILE KIND OF CRIMINAL, because he has been deceptive and not kept his promise to come “clean” on June 8th when he had a chance to stop and avoid putting thousands of people at risk. He has deceived the FBI, the prosecutor and the public and he now seeks to deceive you. He deserves NO BREAKS, especially as long as his accomplices have not been caught and charged with a crime. Judge, these are people who wanted to kill me and they are still at large! I don’t feel safe anywhere anymore, And I especially I do not feel safe at home knowing that one of my neighbors, Jim Maher is still at large. And what about the other accomplices who haven’t been charged? Notice also that under the plea agreement, Mr. Fairfax is not required to pay any restitution for the $45,000 that he stole from me. The fact is that Mr. Fairfax lied, stole and attempted to murder me in cold blood to cover-up this theft, in what really amounts to a racketeering criminal enterprise. He’s not even charged with any RICO violations. I will always have to be wary until his accomplices are arrested.
How can I rest until Mr. Fairfax’s plea bargain is sufficiently firm enough to make him both responsible and accountable for his crimes. I plead with the court that no plea bargain be approved until after the other accomplices are arrested, charged and prosecuted. I plead with the court not to allow Larry Fairfax to have a “soft” plea bargain. Because he lied to the FBI, and instead of coming “clean” with all the information, he held back and did not tell them about the bomb, until it was almost too late,
I am asking the court to make sure that the plea bargain is strong enough so that Mr. Fairfax will spend some serious time in prison so that he will not repeat his criminal activities and never again inflict such horror on another human being.
Thank you for listening to me today.”